A superstar is coming to Edmonton

Jason Gregor
July 07 2009 08:54AM

Sorry Oiler fans but it isn’t Dany Heatley, at least not yet, but the Edmonton Rush will have arguably the best lacrosse player in the world on their team today. I know this isn’t hockey related, but Edmonton fans have been dying for a superstar and they’ll get one today.

Brodie Merrill is one of the faces of Lacrosse in the US as Reebok uses him in all of their ads. Merrill is a 6’4”, 215-lb beast. He was transition player of the year in the NLL this past season, has made the all-star team in all four of his seasons, and is easily the best all-around player in the game.

He would be similar to Scott Niedermayer, except he is tough as nails. Merrill can score, runs like a deer and is a great defender.

The Portland Lumberjaxs were rumoured to be relocating to Seattle, but that won’t be happening, and they will fold instead. This means a dispersal draft of their players, and Merrill is their best player. The Rush has the first pick in the draft, and with former Lumberjax coach and GM, Derek Keenan, now the coach and GM of the Rush it’s a lock Merrill will chosen by the Rush.

In the NLL, if a player is based in the west, there’s a better chance he’d rather play in the west division. The season is only four months, and many of the players fly in for games and practices, so if your guys are based out west it is easier and cheaper to get them to Edmonton, than say Toronto or Philly, and it works the same for eastern based guys.

Scott Self was one of the Rush’s best defenders last year, and he’d have lots of cache on the market. With Merrill coming in, I think Self is expendable, because he could land you a proven sniper, something the Rush, just like Oilers, are in dire need of.

Look for the Rush to make a splash today. Keenan knows the Portland players better than anyone, since he coached them the past four years. The Rush clearly needs more offence, but they also need some guys with size. (Another similarity to the Oilers offensive woes.)

Peter Morgan is 6’6” 230 pound forward who has 175 goals in 102 career games. Cory Conway is only 22 years old, has good size at 6’2, and has good speed and a great stick. Ryan Powell led the Lumberjaxs in scoring last year, but he is more of a passer than a finisher. After Keenan takes Merrill at #1 you can bet he will try and trade for a few more picks in the dispersal draft today.

Ryan Benesch is currently leading the OLA (summer lacrosse) in scoring and while he struggled in Edmonton last year, he will be an attractive player to a team like Toronto (2nd pick) Minnesota (3rd pick), Rochester (4th pick), Philly (5th pick) or Minnesota (6th pick).

I can see the Rush trying hard to get three of the first six picks, and Keenan’s fingerprints will be all over this team.

Minnesota has the 3rd and 6th pick, and Self and Benesch would help the Swarm and give the Rush two picks with one trade. This seems like the most likely scenario.

Last year Toronto wanted Self, but the Rush wouldn’t move him, but they might with the 2nd pick.

In the second round if Pat Jones is available Keenan should grab him. Ball possession is vital in lacrosse, but the Rush has never had a decent faceoff man. Jones is consistently around 54% and the Rush could use him.

While the Rush doesn’t come close to garnering the attention of the Oilers, it is fascinating to see the similarities amongst the two. Both need a sniper, more size on offence and both need help on faceoffs.

Both have missed the playoffs the past three seasons and now both will have a new coach this coming season.

The Rush will get their star player today, and how eerie would it be if the Oilers followed suit sometime this summer?

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 blu
July 07 2009, 08:57AM
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*yawn*

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#2 jdrevenge
July 07 2009, 08:57AM
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totally thought we traded our next ten first rounders for the rights to Federov.....

f*ckin tease

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#3 humantorch
July 07 2009, 09:00AM
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blu, dude, that's cold.

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#4 BUCK75
July 07 2009, 09:00AM
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D'OH!!! Lacrosse!?!?!? lol

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#5 patty
July 07 2009, 09:01AM
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A big F U to Pittsburgh. We're back to being the city of champions now. First Lumsden, then Heatley, now Merrill. Edmonton is back baby!

Seriously though, this is great for the Rush. It's a great product, and they MUST make the playoffs this year.

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#6 Ogden Brother
July 07 2009, 09:02AM
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So, any news on Heatly?

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#7 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 09:02AM
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Can he skate?

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#8 Matt
July 07 2009, 09:10AM
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You left out the part how Tambellini donated Cogs, Smid and Penner to the Rush late last night. Under the cover of darkness, the Rush in turn traded the 3 (former) Oilers to a now defunct team-- because they didnt really know how the whole process worked.

You need to make sure you tell the whole story....

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#9 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 09:10AM
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"...it's a lock Merrill will be coming to Edmonton"

Edmonton may have picked up his rights, but has he actually said he would come to Edmonton?

I remember the last 110% Jason Gregor Guarentee.

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#10 OvenChicken8
July 07 2009, 09:11AM
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That's great news. With him in the line-up next season do you think the Rush will at least be competitive? I'd love to see them make the playoffs and even better if they can hit the .500 mark.

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#11 OvenChicken8
July 07 2009, 09:12AM
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@ Chester Copperpot: Don't be a douche bag

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#12 Jack D
July 07 2009, 09:12AM
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F**k lacrosse.

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#13 Alan
July 07 2009, 09:15AM
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If the Rush get Merrril they will be way better. I know most of you are Oiler fans, but this guy is a big time stud. I've loved this site, but this just proves you guys care about SPORTS not just the Oilers. I know the Oil rule, but this is a big story and the first I'd heard of it.

I'm a Rush season ticket holder, this made my day. Thanks Gregor.

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#14 oilguyry
July 07 2009, 09:17AM
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Got oil?

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#15 rushfan
July 07 2009, 09:18AM
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This is awesome. They need to make the playoffs. Last year I went to four games and was impressed, if they can win it would make it much better. THey had a line brawl one game, so that made it exciting. Hadn't seen one of those since Bishai was chucking them inside the Thrashers bench...ha

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#16 Cam
July 07 2009, 09:19AM
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Chester Copperpot wrote:

“…it’s a lock Merrill will be coming to Edmonton” Edmonton may have picked up his rights, but has he actually said he would come to Edmonton? I remember the last 110% Jason Gregor Guarentee.

cheap shot

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#17 rushfan
July 07 2009, 09:20AM
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@ Jack D: Have you ever been to a game? Probably not, so keep quiet.

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#18 WTF!
July 07 2009, 09:24AM
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Yawnnnnnnn

Oilers Nation? Oilers Nation?

C'mon Jason, you're a great hockey guy and I always appreciate your insight but lacrosse on this website?

Why not square dancing or darts?

Please put a disclaimer in the header saying this isn't hockey related.

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#19 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 09:24AM
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Chester Copperpot wrote:

“…it’s a lock Merrill will be coming to Edmonton” Edmonton may have picked up his rights, but has he actually said he would come to Edmonton? I remember the last 110% Jason Gregor Guarentee.

Ouch...from a guy who can't spell guarantee that really hurts. I jumped the gun, but it still might happen. Get over it. Merrill will come here, and the Rush will be better. The better question is what trades will they make.

THey can't announce any trades until after the draft, but they can get a team to select certain players and then trade for them after draft.

Toronto would make sense wanting Self and the Rush could tell them who to take at #2. Minnesota having the 3rd and 6th pick it might be a bit harder, because it depends who Colorado and Philly take. It will be a busy day for the Rush.

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#20 Doug
July 07 2009, 09:27AM
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I don't know about the rest of you but I am really pumped to have somebody called 'The best player in the world' at ANY SPORT in Edmonton.

I will definitely be checking out the Rush this year thanks to this.

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#21 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 09:27AM
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@ WTF!: Man it is one story, and I'm a sports nut not just a hockey nut. Clearly Bingofuel did a great job in enticing you to look.

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#22 Wanye Gretz
July 07 2009, 09:35AM
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Take it easy, you maniacs. We're trying different things out to give you different content to read in JULY.

Personally, I have never been to a lacrosse game in my life, but then again I was shocked to learn there was a NEW Mexico.

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#23 DanMan
July 07 2009, 09:36AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Ouch…from a guy who can’t spell guarantee that really hurts.

HAHA! Didn't think there would be this much humour the morning.

Nice one, Gregor!

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#24 cambosmash
July 07 2009, 09:38AM
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I know Merrill played in Portland last year but isn't he from Toronto? Maybe the Rush pick him and trade him to TO for a Western born and raised sniper like Ratcliff.

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#25 humantorch
July 07 2009, 09:42AM
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Man, a lot of you guys are dinks. I, for one, welcome our new OilersRushNation overlords.

*shotguns a can of Bud Light*

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#26 DanMan
July 07 2009, 09:43AM
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Jason, I am determined to get out to a few Rush games this year, and I will try to keep with it, but I gotta ask you about some Oilers stuff.

What do you think about signing Todd Bertuzzi?

Even if Heatleygate is over and he becomes an Oiler, we are still small in the top 6 with Penner gone. There is a hole at 2nd line RW/LW (depending on what side O'Sullivan is playing) regardless.

I'm sure we could get him for $2.25 mil or less at this point.

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#27 blu
July 07 2009, 09:43AM
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maybe the new url could be sportsingeneralthathappeninoilersnation.com! I get that we like other sports, but this is OILERS nation dot com.

I love you Gregor, but Information Architects everywhere are crying. Bit of a Cincinnati Handshake if you ask me.

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#28 humantorch
July 07 2009, 09:45AM
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DanMan wrote:

Jason, I am determined to get out to a few Rush games this year, and I will try to keep with it, but I gotta ask you about some Oilers stuff. What do you think about signing Todd Bertuzzi? Even if Heatleygate is over and he becomes an Oiler, we are still small in the top 6 with Penner gone. There is a hole at 2nd line RW/LW (depending on what side O’Sullivan is playing) regardless. I’m sure we could get him for $2.25 mil or less at this point.

I hate Bertuzzi about as much as anyone, but hell, I'd do it. He's gotta be more effective than Nilsson.

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#29 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 09:45AM
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I'm not a Lacrosse fan, never really checked it out as I only have so much time/ energy and the oil use up most of this. That being said, not sure why the venom towards Gregor for posting the odd story not related to Oilers. He can only post so much about the never changing Heatley story and there is nothing else going on. I guess he could just post: "Horcoff, 1st or 3rd line centre- discuss" and we could amuse ourselves.

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#30 blu
July 07 2009, 09:47AM
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humantorch wrote:

Man, a lot of you guys are dinks. I, for one, welcome our new OilersRushNation overlords. *shotguns a can of Bud Light*

Doods, that shoulda been bud light lime.

Which, it should be noted, you can't find anywhere in this city. Not because it's a shitty beer and we refused to even make it available here. Because we have shitty beer drinkers who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground who have been buying it up in pick-up-truck-filling loads while mouth breathing out of their bud light lime holes.

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#31 Doug
July 07 2009, 09:48AM
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ronaldo wrote:

I guess he could just post: “Horcoff, 1st or 3rd line centre- discuss” and we could amuse ourselves.

LOL I think many readers/commenters would love that...

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#32 DanMan
July 07 2009, 09:51AM
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Thanks, humantorch, I though I was the only one.

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#33 MattL
July 07 2009, 09:52AM
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I agree with everybody who says anybody good at something coming to compete for Edmonton at anything is good news, not to mention a breath of fresh air from million dollar baby hockey players.

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#34 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 09:52AM
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@ blu:

lol, great rant.

More of an Alley Kat Apricot Wheat Ale fan are you?

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#35 NonMint
July 07 2009, 09:56AM
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A simple title of "Edmonton Rush: A Superstar is comnig to Edmonton" would have saved you guys a bunch of complaining. Only takes a second and would save you much comment related grief.

I'm just saying.

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#36 DanMan
July 07 2009, 09:59AM
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There was a ton of bud lite lime at sherbrooke liquor store on 118ave and Groat road (what should be called Messier, I don't know why they didn't extend the name all the way down to Hawrlak) at the traffic circle.

Sherbrook has the biggest beer section in the city that I've seen. :)

Alley Kat is alright but St. Ambroise is by far the best Apricot Wheat Ale with Pyramid running second. Both can be found st Sherbrooke.

It would be nice to get some $$ for promoting the store on ON!

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#37 I'm a Scientist!
July 07 2009, 10:00AM
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Nice! Good for the Rush! Maybe this will increase viewership.

So if Phoneix folds, can we finally get Doan?

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#38 scorecoff hemmercules
July 07 2009, 10:01AM
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Hey Bingofuel, any chance you can pull down the score from our last game?? I look at that everyday and it drives me nuts to see that score, its like we lose 4-1 to the flames everyday!

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#39 I'm a Scientist!
July 07 2009, 10:02AM
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@ NonMint: Dude, the FIRST LINE says that the article will be about the Rush. If you don't have an interest and can't figure it out from there, then obviously your comments shouldn't apply. Some people are just rediculous.

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#40 humantorch
July 07 2009, 10:03AM
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DanMan wrote:

There was a ton of bud lite lime at sherbrooke liquor store on 118ave and Groat road (what should be called Messier, I don’t know why they didn’t extend the name all the way down to Hawrlak) at the traffic circle.

I would imagine that they pretty much only renamed the section between Edmonton and St. Albert to minimize the impact on businesses that would need to change their legal business addresses, reprint signage, letterheads, business cards, and all the residents along the road once you get south of the Yellowhead.

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#41 socaldave
July 07 2009, 10:04AM
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Did any of you whiners read the small print and see that OMG is actually The Voice of Your Edmonton Rush? Just another reason Gregor gets to throw up a story whenever the f*** he wants.

@ blu:

I have it from a source down here (it's nice having a pal that works at one of the Bud bottling facilities) that BLL will soon be available in kegs! It's tasty when it's your first (or maybe even the 5th) of the day, but a keg? I dunno, man... I'll let you know how it works out!

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#42 scorecoff hemmercules
July 07 2009, 10:04AM
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Bud light lime in a can = barf

Bud light lime in a bottle = 1 or 2, then barf.

Alley Kat Apricot Wheat Ale, might as well call it Girlbeer, shorter and to the point.

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#43 blu
July 07 2009, 10:05AM
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Chester Copperpot wrote:

@ blu: lol, great rant. More of an Alley Kat Apricot Wheat Ale fan are you?

I was worried it might not make it through moderation.

In line at the liquor store I always check out what people in front and behind me are picking up. Part of it is just people watching, but another part of it is curiosity about what other people find good (ie - willing to trade earth munnies for).

Consistently, I'm in line with my usuals (Innis & Gunn, Hoegaarden, Kilkenny, Lvivske ...) and I often spend the same as those around me, only they carry out a 36 of some swill I wouldn't pour into a hub cap for a dog to lap up while I maybe have 8 or 10.

Now, I'm ok with diversity of people and their tastes. I encourage it, even. Sadly, that means you have to take the good with the bad. And normally, I endure it, though I'll admit to careful muttering.

Some things push me over the top though. Things like, oh, any North American car. Things like new suburb developments that include features like maze-like warrens of streets and dead ends named the same thing that aren't actually wide enough to let two cars pass each other. Things like wasted oil money surpluses in the millions or billions.

And things like our city flocking to a beer so shitty, they had to jam some fake lime chemicals into it and cross their fingers.

Sorry, I guess I'm in a ranting mood.

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#44 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 10:07AM
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@ DanMan:

I brought up Alley Shat as a joke, I can't believe people with a choice pay their own money drink that.

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#45 DanMan
July 07 2009, 10:10AM
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Pumphouse Blueberry is great.

Some flavoured beers, like AlleyKat, start swinging toward the cooler zone. Not good for the stomach. Pumphouse and St. Ambrose are legit. Manly beers you wont be ashamed to offer your buddies.

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#46 The Towel Boy
July 07 2009, 10:12AM
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I bet lacrosse players would be good at planting themselves in front of the net and tipping point shots with their acute hand-eye coordination. They don't need to skate very well to do that. Maybe he could wear broomball shoes.

I say the Oilers give him a shot.

Is Heatley here yet?

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#47 Doug
July 07 2009, 10:13AM
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hmmm.... BeerNation.com?

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#48 cambosmash
July 07 2009, 10:17AM
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Alley Kat is a solid Edmonton run micro-brewery run by good people trying to make it an already beer pickled world. They would all sell their left nuts to help you enjoy an Edmonton brewed beer. They are sometimes overly sweet beers and need to be consumed in moderation, but have a pumpkin pie spiced beer or raspberry ale before you get licked on Black Label Ice. A cold, sweet beer on a 30 degree Friday evening is an awesome way to start your weekend.

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#49 Doug
July 07 2009, 10:19AM
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Well not to rain on anybody's parade but NLLinsider.com is reporting Merrill's people are trying to get him declared a UFA based on a contract dispute with Portland...

http://www.nllinsider.com/2009/07/07/breaking-brodie-merrill-seeks-to-become-unrestricted-free-agent/

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#50 lolvista
July 07 2009, 10:24AM
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HAHA good one Gregor! You've fooled me twice now. First with the Heatley 100% lock on coming to Edmonton thing... now this. My heart can only take so much!

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